19th July 2017 at 9:51 pm #7011
Was delighted to see a Hedgehog in my garden a few weeks ago. Apparently my neighbour had already seen it a few times. We guessed it lived in the woods behind our gardens and had found holes under our fences. I began putting out dog food and water. The dog food disappeared each night.
We began looking after my sons cats today while he goes on holiday. Within minutes of being in our garden, the cat found a hedgehog hiding under a bush – no harm done the hedgehog is there asleep.
I’m wondering though if I should cut down on the amount of food so it does not become too dependant on us and loses its wild life in the wood?20th July 2017 at 12:01 am #7014
So pleased to hear you have a hedgehog visiting your garden. I always think it is rather wonderful when a wild animal chooses to share our gardens with us.
I think you are absolutely right to consider the hog’s wild life. What we feed should really only be supplementary. Ideally, it is best for the hedgehogs to be able to find their own wild food and for us to help them out when needed, i.e. if the weather is very dry, before and after hibernation etc. If they have a good source of natural food, that is probably better for them than any of the things we feed them. Water though is very useful for them, as they cannot always find that in the wild. So a large plant saucer of water would probably be welcome for them. (They are a bit inclined to walk through the water, so a large straight sided saucer is less likely to tip over).
I find it is useful to give them a bit of food, so that I can keep an eye on them (from a respectful distance), and make sure they are ok, but I normally only leave food out for an hour or two each night, and hope that they are foraging for themselves for the rest of the night. You can encourage them into your garden, as well, by improving the places where their sources of food live, ie. by leaving wood piles, making beetle banks, etc. and not using lawn treatments, slug pellets, etc.
Cats are usually not a problem to hogs, but some dogs will attack them and can kill, or fatally injure them, so it is always best to beware with dogs.
Good luck with the hedgehog. Where there is one, there may be more and perhaps you may be honoured by having some hoglets in the garden one day.22nd July 2017 at 10:23 am #7038
I’m still feeding and someone is eating during the night – I assume/hope it is the hedgehog!
I think I was leaving too much before, so I reduced the amount. I’ll feed again tonight, but intend not to feed tomorrow (Sunday) night but feed again Monday.
I’d already started a ‘woodpile’ as you suggested but am adding more to it.
Tim22nd July 2017 at 11:13 pm #7041
I hope it is the hedgehog eating the food too – not one of the neighbourhood cats, or maybe you even get foxes where you are?
It sounds as if you are living in a good place for hogs if there is a wood nearby. I live near a railway and the trackside is fairly wide here and I suspect that some of the hogs come from there. Anything you can do in your garden to encourage more food for them, can only be good. I noticed a few years ago, when I was digging up yet another bit of lawn (!), to plant things and left the turf on the path for a few days, (on its way to the compost) that beetles had already taken up residence. So now I have little mini beetle banks made up upturned turf here and there.
There have been two hoglets in my garden recently and they seem to be enjoying foraging on the lawn which is a bit longer than usual at the moment, so I am thinking of making it a permanent thing, or part of it anyway.25th July 2017 at 10:49 am #7065
I tend to keep my grass cut short. The birds like it and find lots of worms.
Some years ago I stacked a pile of old lods and rotten wood in a corner of my front garden. I noticed some droppings near there and wandered if it was a hedgehog so started putting out food. Something was eating it but saw cats near there so assumed it was them and gave up.
Nothing like a true sighting though! I’ve seen a hog twice now in my back garden, and am regularly feeding – someone’s eating it!
I’m missing out the odd night though so they don’t come to rely on dog food, but I’ve started another wood pile in nearby.25th July 2017 at 3:42 pm #7071
Good to hear there are lots of worms in your grass! One of my cams caught a hog catching a worm recently. Amazing – that one usually just catches front end or rear end of hogs rushing past! I have also caught on cam a rat catching a worm. Equally fascinating, but not quite so welcome! The wood piles sound brilliant. I tend to feed the hogs every night, but just for an hour or two. They then have the rest of the night to, hopefully, do wild hog things. Just an alternative idea. Your way sounds better in some respects, but you might not get to see the hogs so much. I agree with you – nothing like a true sighting. I was thinking, most of us tend to put log piles, etc. away from the house, when maybe we should actually be putting them near the best viewing area? They don’t have to be untidy to be good bug habitat.5th August 2017 at 9:30 am #7181
Tim here, was wondering if hogs like to nest/hibernate in compost heaps. I’m asking this because I have built a wooden box for composting in my garden. For some years now, each spring I dig out the well rotted compost from the bottom layer in the box. After that I climb inside and to collapse the unrotted top layer which I then fork over to give it a good mix. I usually do this in March. I’m worried now that if a hog has decided to hibernate there he’d be in danger from my fork!
I know mice get in there so there must be a small hole at the back, which by now could be large enough for a hog to get in. Do you think they’d be put off if I added wood ash and mixed that in now?7th August 2017 at 9:42 am #7202
Yes, apparently they do sometimes nest in compost heaps. I found the following on the BHPS site.
… ‘From BHPS. Gardening with Hedgehogs.
Compost – another ideal place for a hedgehog to make a nest and rear its
young. Take care when turning the heap; one thrust of a fork can easily
kill more than one baby hedgehog. The safest time to spread the heap is
probably Oct/Nov when most babies have left their mum and adults have
not yet started to hibernate. Partly used bags of compost may also have
nesting hedgehogs in them.’ ….
I don’t know about the wood ash. I wouldn’t want to risk it, myself. I would also be slightly worried that some of the males may have already begun to hibernate by Oct/Nov. So I would be careful at any time of the year – there may be other creatures in there as well. Is it possible to do a more careful exploration first? A bit of careful excavating?11th August 2017 at 9:54 am #7235
Had a gentle look in the compost bin yesterday. No sign of a hog resting in there. Even better, there were no holes in the rear of the bin where a hog could get in.
Food is still being eaten although I have not watched recently to make sure its a hog that’s eating it.17th August 2017 at 2:43 pm #7286
Hi – I have just joined today and have read the interesting thread re feeding hedgehogs
My husband and I had a sighting of hedgehogs on 2 days running a few weeks ago in mid afternoon and the following day 2 baby ones were having a nap in the shade of some bushes – we live in rural area and our large garden is cottage style with trees shrubs and perennial plants – we have many natural areas with wild flowers and rotting logs etc to encourage wild life
We have not seen the hedgehog since
We have not put any food out as we did not know what to feed them on
Judith17th August 2017 at 3:47 pm #7288
One really important thing you could do is make sure there is a plentiful supply of water available. The only slight worry is – if you see hedgehogs out during the day, there may be something wrong with them (for instance dehydration) and they may need help. I am not sure when you say they were having a nap in the shade of some bushes, how open you meant that was. I sometimes see a hog sleeping in a flower bed during the day (mine are quite thickly vegetated!), and would not worry about that, but they would not normally be in a more open place, so that might be something to look out for in the future.
Whilst improving their habitat is really the most important thing, as I see it, if you do feel you would like to give them some supplementary food then cat/dog food, cat/kitten biscuits or a reputable hedgehog food are currently thought to be best. Whilst they would welcome food at times of need, especially in very dry weather, before and after hibernation, etc. supplementary, is the operative word. They really need to be able to find some wild food for themselves as well, then the less than ideal nature of what we supplementary feed them, becomes less important in terms of content. I tend to only feed for 2 or 3 hours each night (when I am up to watch them) so I can keep an eye on them (from a respectful distance, unless there looks to be a problem). Sounds like you are well on your way to making your garden a good supply of natural food, but one garden is never enough (unless it is enormous, of course) so linking gardens is important.
Good luck – I hope you see the hedgehogs again – and, perhaps, some of their relatives.
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